Michael Laris

Michael Laris
Chief Product Officer
Playworld

Originally an architect in California, Michael Laris was converted into an Architect of Play. And he loves it.

The chief product officer of Playworld leads design work. He also serves as a play/design specialist for Mali Kalanso—a non-profit organization that builds schools in Mali, Africa. His mission is to bring  play equipment to the new schools.

Previously, Laris led the design team at Kompan. His 19 years of dedication in this field have been rewarded by several international design awards; the opportunity to collaborate with a host of students, universities, companies and design firms; and being part of re-inventing the play industry through product innovation.

Most importantly—by making a better world for children through play.


Designing for Play

We spent hours on the playground as children—developing critical thinking; solving problems; learning to communicate and collaborate; and expressing compassion for others. We became who we are and formed our first friendships.

Today, these skills are still crucial to our lives as designers.  Play is not play; it’s not monkey business. It is serious development. It is the process of becoming human. Michael Laris, chief product officer of Playworld, explains the role of play in the cognitive and creative;  emotion and social; and physical and sensory development of a child.

He’ll look at the outdoor play industry and customer and user needs—and share examples of how to translate today’s play needs into innovative products.